A 14-year-old girl is suing the Long Beach Unified School District, alleging administrators failed to protect her from a Hughes Middle School teacher who sexually assaulted her.
The complaint, which was filed in Long Beach Superior Court on Feb. 27, says Dan Murray, a science teacher at Hughes Middle School, sexually abused and molested the plaintiff, who was a student in his class last year.
Murray didn’t know about the lawsuit until the Long Beach Post contacted him. He denied the allegations and said he found them disturbing.
“These people are just out for money,” Murray said. “I was cleared of this last year.”
Terry Davis, the attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the student, declined to comment, saying the allegations in the complaint speak for themselves. The Long Beach Post is not naming the plaintiff because she is a minor and the Post generally does not identify people who say they’re survivors of sexual abuse unless they choose to use their names publicly.
The complaint alleges that the plaintiff learned from other students in March last year that Murray had the tendency to make “weird” comments to female Hispanic students of undocumented parents and had previously touched another female Hispanic student inappropriately.
By the following month, Murray had begun making comments about the plaintiff’s body and dress, according to the complaint.
This culminated on May 6, according to the complaint, when Murray walked the plaintiff out at the end of class, pretended to trip, grabbed onto her breasts, and then squeezed them before saying “my bad” while giving a “suggestive” smirk.
The plaintiff reported the incident to school officials who, according to the complaint, failed to notify authorities until a school therapist filed a report with the Long Beach Police Department.
“… Defendant LBUSD knew or should have known that Dan Murray had a propensity to prey on young Hispanic students of undocumented parents,” according to the complaint. “Plaintiff suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the incident and Plaintiff continues to suffer from these injuries.”
LBUSD spokesperson Chris Eftychiou said the school became aware of the allegation against Murray in May 2022 and launched an investigation. But the accusations were “neither corroborated nor substantiated upon investigation by school administration and law enforcement,” Eftychiou said.
Eftychiou declined to comment on the scope of the investigation or how the district typically handles investigations related to sexual assault allegations. He also declined to say whether Murray was removed from the classroom while he was under investigation.
According to the LBPD, detectives investigated the reported child abuse allegations in May and presented the case to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration.
The DA chose not to press charges, citing a lack of evidence.
“Victim alleges that suspect, her teacher, touched her breasts inappropriately over the clothing in the guise of catching himself from falling,” prosecutors wrote in a short summary of the case. “Suspect denies and points to victim’s failing grade in his class as a possible motive for her to lie. No witnesses were identified as having observed any of the conduct. No other students have made complaints about suspect.”
A spokesperson for the LBPD said the case remains open and under investigation.